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24 May 2012 | Adam Leach
Buyers, farmers and processors need to work more closely together to deal with issues such as increasing demand and globalisation to keep the beef industry sustainable.
EBLEX, which represents the English beef and sheep meat industry, has said it is inevitable that there will be “domestic supply issues” in the UK unless the supply chain collaborates more. It said increased demand for UK products from foreign buyers and an increased appetite from UK buyers for cheaper foreign products would cause problems. Further, it said on a global scale demand is going up as supplies decline.
John Cross, chairman of EBLEX, said: “Doubts about the ability of the supply chain to deliver remain as we sit amid the gathering storm of rapidly growing global demand for a product that is in decreasing supply. This will create new challenges for all in the UK meat industry and a strategic shift in attitude and approach is needed to ensure that supply chains are secured to weather this storm.”
“Farmers, processors and, particularly, retailers all need to understand each other better and the forces that affect their respective enterprises.” In particular, EBLEX identified pressure being applied to suppliers to lower prices by supermarkets as doing nothing to protect the long-term health of the sector.
Cross said: “Long-established working practices, of simply looking to buy more cheaply from alternative markets if domestic product becomes scarce or is considered too expensive, are unlikely to be sustainable as global supply continues to tighten.”